Save as Much Money as Possible- or Not?
The past six years have been a financial roller coaster for us, and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (finally!). When we moved to this state for my hubby to go to school, we incurred moving expenses. Then I was the only one working while he went to school so our income was pretty low. In addition, culinary school ended up costing over $36,000 so we took on student loans. After culinary school, we continued to live frugally to be able to pay down our consumer debt. We ended up paying off that debt this year and it couldn’t feel better.
Fortunately, (or unfortunately) I’ve continued the mindset of OMG we need to save as much money as possible! and I’m getting tired of it. Not to mention, I feel sometimes like it’s hindering my happiness. Now, I know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but what I am saying is that maybe being a little less stingy with our money would result in more happiness. I received a comment the other day that really struck home.
I like your blog but there is one down side that has made me tune out a lot; you seem to very often put money waaaay before happiness. I get the importance of being financially responsible but I think IMHO that you often cheat yourself just to save. I’d rather have sufficient and modest savings but live happily and in sync with my values than maximize my money but sacrifice a lot of what makes me happy. just my opinion.
First off, I’m glad that the person actually said this. I don’t think that I would have had the guts to post this because I’d be worried I would offend someone. Truth be told, this is one of the best comments I’ve ever received. I think there’s a lot of truth to it, and I’m going to do my best to focus more on being happy than worrying about money.
Over the years I’ve worried a lot about money. We had debt, we needed to save for this, we need more money to pay this, etc. Money is stressful! Now we’re debt free, focusing on new goals (which can also be stressful), and I want to really enjoy life more. We are not bound by debt (except for our mortgage) any more. I want to continue to live frugally but not miserly.
One of the things that really stresses me out about budgeting is eating out. We really enjoy eating out and as much as I try to cook at home all the time to save money, Mr. Money isn’t happy unless he can eat out. Maybe I need to compromise and plan for one meal out a week so that way we are both happy. Instead of looking at it like “we’re wasting money eating out and it could have cost me so much less money if we ate at home”, I need to look at it like I am blessing my husband and we are using our money wisely because this is something we both enjoy.
Obviously, budgeting is a huge struggle for me. I don’t know how to tackle this. I’m thinking about two solutions.
1. Make a budget with all of our bills that have to be paid (but not things like groceries) and include some savings goals in it. After all the bills are paid, don’t worry about how much money we spend. It’s not in our nature to go overboard, so our spending would be reasonable.
2. Make a budget and include the things like eating out. Give us a set amount of money each month to spend on restaurants and fun things. This option seems more stressful because I’d feel restricted. Is that a good thing though?
I guess my main focus with our finances now is to start enjoying life a little more and stop acting like we’re dirt poor. I don’t want to be 70 years old with a million dollars in the bank and wish that I had spent more time doing things that would have cost me a little money. It’s all about balance.
Do you struggle with spending money? Or do you struggle with saving money? Which do you think is worse?